Global Health Engagement

Sharpening a Key Tool for the Department of Defense

President Obama recently announced that the Department of Defense (DoD) would deploy 3,000 troops to lead a major expansion of the U.S. response to Ebola. This campaign will amplify efforts that already include the largest international response by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its history, numerous other U.S. agencies, and a large coalition of international partners assisting the affected nations. Although a military-led operation of this scale and complexity is unprecedented, involvement by U.S. military personnel in global health activities is not new, has increased considerably over the past decade, and has often been controversial. In the face of heightened budgetary scrutiny, the author of this report examines recent efforts within DoD to clarify the appropriate role of global health engagement—in direct support of its mission and in support of broader U.S. security and global health goals—and to increase its effectiveness.

J. Christopher Daniel

Kathleen H. Hicks